Episode 62 - Oona Mourier: Bedroom Bliss
It’s almost a cliché, it’s so common – a couple starts out having lots of sex, most of it good, and lots of connection, most of it good. Then, over time, something changes. The sex isn’t as frequent. And when it happens it isn’t as good. Instead of feeling intimacy deepen and grow, intimacy seems to wither and die. Meet Dr. Oona Mourier: sexologist, counselor, shaman, wise woman, visionary, and co-author of "9 Secrets to Bedroom Bliss." Oona has a different paradigm for our most intimate relationships. Oona sees us embodying “sexual archetypes” and sees these archetypes as a kind of medicine wheel or Mandela, interconnected. Join us for a fascinating look into the sources of bedroom ecstasy. And don’t miss Oona’s exercise for you to try at home.
Chip August: Welcome to “Sex, Love and Intimacy”. I’m your host Chip August. Today on the show we are going to be talking about the secrets to bedroom bliss.
We are talking with a friend of mine, Doctor Oona Mourier. Oona is a sexologist in private practice in. Sebastopol, California. She is the co-author of a great book called “9 Secrets to Bedroom Bliss”. Some have called it the most unusual sex manual of its kind. I think that was actually in a quote from the New York Post.
Oona is an Explorer of many faces of the self. She’s a shaman, a wise woman, a visionary, a trickster, and an entrepreneur. She has devoted her life to the exploration of the mysteries. Her innovative mind has led her to create some new paradigms in sexuality as well as in relationships and business. Oona’s career reflects her creative spirit. She splits her work between sexology and being a teacher. She is also a currency trader, a business owner, and a mother. Oona has been lecturing nationally and teaching workshops on sexual archetypes since 1990.
Oona Mourier: A private shaman in private practice helps people and let’s them tell you, “We used to have this really juicy relationship. We used to have sex all the time and it’s not there anymore.” Basically, people think there is something wrong there. When you look at the archetype, usually what you see is, for example, one of the scenarios is after the juice people are starting to encounter conflict in their own sexuality.
Think about earth as being a relationship with the body so in terms of sexuality is to descend on the body. Then there is the task of opening the heart, which is the water and the emotion. And the spirit is about going to heaven. All those pieces should be integrated in order to be at the center, which is called ‘the center of the artist’, which is the act of going anywhere.
We all have a sense of identity that is deeply tied up to who we are, the sexual human being. Then you get older and that is not reliable any more. So what’s really required, can you have the courage to be in the presence of the person you loved and get the juice going. Then what do you do there? Can you surrender to that woman to see what really could be there?
Chip: Welcome to the show, Oona Mourier.
Oona: Hi Chip.
Chip: Hi Oona. It’s been a long time since we have talked. It’s nice to talk to you again.
Oona: I know. It’s lovely to be on the show with you.
Chip: I would love to talk to you about currency trading, but the name of the show is “Sex, Love and Intimacy” so let’s talk about that. OK?
Oona: Ookey doke.
Chip: So let’s start simple here. What is it that makes you a psychologist? What do you do? What is your private practice? What do you do?
Oona: Well, I work with people in private practice who want to do some work around sexuality and gender. And basically the way that I work with people is I think sexuality is like dancing with the mysteries and exploring the journey is what I love to do with people.
Chip: The mystery of life? The mystery of the cosmos? Which mystery?
Oona: The mystery of our relationship with a creative force. So it’s a dance with a creative force and I think the more you know yourself the more the more you know the other, the less distance there is the more you touch the divine.
Chip: I noticed in your biography you talked about creating new paradigms in sexuality. Can there be new paradigms in sexuality? I mean, human beings have been around a long time what can be new?
Oona: Well, one of the things for me when I was looking at sexuality a long time ago, there was something in the way that we look at sexuality that just in the way that we look at sexuality that just didn’t work for me. The traditional model is that you stop being sexual. You have a peak, depending if you are a man or a woman, at 30’s or 40’s, and then it goes down from there. And somehow that just never worked for me. I was aware that the kind of experience that I was having in sexuality had no place to go.
So with Jim Herriot, who is the co-author of the book, we started looking at sexuality according to the medicine world, with kind of a mensal model. And what’s really great about the mensal model is that every place in the circle has relationships. So I could think of sexuality as a spiral where we get more and more deeply connected with ourselves, with the other, and with the divine. It was an inverse model. There is not that peak and then boom it goes down.
So that is what we want in sexuality that kind of a look at it. So what it means is: there is a place to integrate the heart; there is a place to integrate the body; there is a place to integrate the mind; and there is a place to integrate the spirit. And you can dance from these different places.
Chip: And you indicate the menal is something about the connection of all these different places flowing for you all at the same time?
Oona: Both. They can flow through you all at the same time or you can visit different places.
So, for example, if you think about the medicine world, people talk about the earth, the water, the fire, and the air. You can think about earth being a relationship with a body. So, in terms of sexuality, part of the task of sexuality is to descend in the body. Then there is the task of opening the heart, which is the water and the emotion. And understanding who you are and claiming who you are in your sexual meeting is part of the mind. And the spirit is about going to heaven.
So all those pieces need to be integrated in order to be at the center, which is what we call the center of the achiest, which is the art of going anywhere.
So if you think about each position on the medicine wheel, there is eight different positions and those are the eight different faces of the lover.
Chip: Eight different faces of the lover. OK. So do you have names for these faces? Are they archetypical?
Oona: Yeah, they are archetypical. There are eight plus one, so there are nine of them.
The first one is the innocent, what they call the innocent, which is the ability to just open the heart and enjoy what is. The innocent as an archetype around sexuality doesn’t hold a lot of fire. It’s more about connection, about bonding, and about creating safety.
Then there is another one called the explorer, for example. The explorer is the one that are a little bit more shadowy around sexuality where you admit your self in the places that people hide and all of that, and coming to terms with those conflicts that are in sexuality. Then there is a sensuality that descends in the body. So the sensuality is how many orgasms you have and how hard you are.
Then there is the revealer, which is about really knowing yourself around sexuality.
Then there is a more tantric kind of a character, which the purpose of the sexual interaction is really to meet God.
Then there is the nurturer, which is about the long term relationship in the home. Having the fire, the comfort, the pajamas.
So they all have a different energy around sexuality. So the fun of it is to get to know all of them.
Then at the center is the archest, which is like playing a strategist around sexuality. The archestry of it, you can be in many places and be present with any kind of energy, whether you have a passionate moment or whether you have this really tender sweet moment.
Chip: I am assuming that all these archetypes lead us to this premise of bedroom bliss and I want to talk to you more about that in a moment, but we want to take a break first and give a chance to support our sponsors and let our sponsors support us.
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Chip: Welcome back. You are listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I am your host Chip August. I am talking to Doctor Oona Mourier. We have been talking about sexual archetypes.
Oona Mourier is the co-author of a book called “9 Secrets to Bedroom Bliss”.
As we went to break you were talking about nine archetypes. Do these lead directly into these nine secrets to bedroom bliss?
Oona: Yes, I think that they all have a piece that needs to be integrated to get to the place where sexuality becomes an art form. An art form is really about making spirits and having a place where you are so present that it becomes a timeless moment.
Chip: I am sorry. I tend to be a kind of ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of person and I am sometimes practical to a fault. This all sounds kind of hard. It sounds like hard work. Is it?
Oona: No, I don’t think it is. I don’t think it is. I think it’s really about being with what is and enjoying what is.
Let me give you an example.
Chip: Oh please.
Oona: Traditional archeists in private practice are people that come and they tell you, “We used to have this really juicy relationship. We used to have sex all the time. And it’s not there anymore.” And basically, people think there is something wrong there. So when you look from the archetype or point of view, they mention the sexualities where sex was hot, steamy, and juicy, and suddenly something else is appearing. When you look at the archetype, usually what you see, for example one of the scenarios is that after the juice people are starting to encounter conflict in their own sexuality or other stuff that shows up, those kinds of things.
Usually what happened is that they are in a place that could innocent, which is really about snuggling and cuddling. What really is happening from that place is that she creates a safety container for the next level. So what it looks like is being present with whatever it is sexuality that is having a frame in sexuality of what is the task that is happening at that moment in the sexual relationship.
In that case it is creating safety. And the juice is fantastic and it needs also to be grounded.
Chip: So there is something here about letting go of your expectations about how you think the sexuality is supposed to be and tuning more into what is really happening to you?
Oona: It is more that tuning. I think it is deeply engaging with what is happening to you. It is really having this kind of fascination of being seen in places that are different, that we don’t know yet, with another human being.
Chip: So here I am. I have been married for – I don’t know —twenty years and sexuality has definitely changed in ways that I don’t think are as good as it used to be. I am not happy.
How do I even begin to look for this? What do I do? I mean…yeah.
Oona: A wonderful thing would be to really look at what is present.
Chip: So that would mean, talking to my partner about the feelings that are coming up for me in my dissatisfaction.
Oona: Yeah. And also, what’s underneath that. If you really follow that thread and inquire, what is there for you?
Chip: But I find for most of us…what is underneath that? Well I have been having sex with the same women for twenty years. I am bored. What’s underneath that? That’s it. I am bored.
Oona: And what is under the boredom?
Chip: So you have an assumption that no matter what I think is going on on the surface there is something going on underneath.
Oona: Well, I think it is the same thing with a relationship with your own self. There is always another layer you have to discover. And boredom is a form of protection in some ways.
Chip: OK. So what I think I am hearing you say is that one of the things that needs to change is that we really need to be willing to dig deeper into what our actual experience is…
Chip: …and be open to the possibility that what is obvious on the surface may have deeper and deeper causes than we’ve been looking at.
Oona: Right. I think that really the task is to really crack yourself – because I know there are other human beings -- to a deeper level. That is part of what we call the innocent in the archetype, which is about opening the heart. As we get older rather than boredom really it has to do with how deeply can you crack yourself. Can you show your vulnerability to those places where you’re so naked?
Chip: This reminds me a lot of tantra. One piece of tantra is certainly about giving up the illusion of security so that one can dive to deeper realms of the soul.
Oona: And also, I think that there is, for example, something that can be delicious or terrible for a couple is this moment where you are in there and you want to make love but you don’t feel aroused.
Oona: So when you get there can you really stay with that, really dance with that, and see what you want? You might end up kissing for 45 minutes and having some of the most profound connection even though it is not your genitals that are running the show.
Chip: So I hear in this also that one of the secrets to bedroom bliss is broadening your definition of sexuality so that you can begin to see that sexuality doesn’t just live in your genitals and doesn’t just live in lubrication or erection.
Oona: Yeah, absolutely. And I think as we get older we do need to do that. I don’t think we have any other door to sexuality, but really that delicious enquiry on: Where is the cliff I am still wanting something?; How can I crack myself and go deeper with someone I love?; How can I connect to the source of love?; And what’s in the way?
Chip: And is your book sort of a guide book on how to do this?
Oona: Yeah. Well, in the book we explore those nine archetypes and each one of them has a different task. So, for example, some of the developmental tissues of that in order to integrate different positions one of them is you need to descend in the body. Some people don’t know how to be in their body and at the same time being related to another human being. There is that split happening, having your attention both within yourself and connected to the other.
So, for example, one of the exercises in the sensual is about really descending in this kind of animalistic desire and let yourself really feel that. There is an exercise where you close your eyes while your being touched or whatever and you really deepen your pleasure connection between your brain and your body until you really let yourself be so come on, aroused, and pleasured, whatever that pleasure looks like.
But I think all of us have a place where we stop that pleasure. So having those kinds of exercises really is an enquiry around how much can I really open myself to pleasure, whatever that feels like and really deepen that.
Then there is another exercise that looking in all the things in sexualities where you go, “Oh, no, no. I won’t ever do that.” What is that? What is really there? Kind of explore that.
Then in the tantric experience you are connected to another being, but if you’re grounded in your body then you have the ability to hold much more energy. So there are exercises in all the archetypes to kind of gear up those different characters.
Chip: And in the process, I get that you unwind into a state of deep intimate connection both with your self, with your partner and with the divine. So in some ways the bliss you are experiencing is the ecstasy that’s in the universe itself.
Oona: Right. Also, the thing around boredom is if you are that present it will never never never be the same experience.
Chip: Right. When we are completely present to the experience they aren’t the same each time over and over and over again. Each experience will be different.
Oona: That’s right. They will always be different. You’ll touch a different person.
Chip: That’s a very powerful thought.
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You’re listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I am your host Chip August.
We’ll be back in just a moment.
Chip: Welcome back to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I am your host Chip August.
We’re to Oona Mourier and we have been talking about the nine secrets to bedroom bliss, which is the title of her newest book. We have been talking about archetypes and diving into the soul.
It sound to me, when I listen to this and I talk to you, that really you have a very nice unique way of helping people really access that deep love that really is the source of all joy.
Oona: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think, basically, it is all about that, isn’t it?
Chip: Yeah. It’s that love of self. I don’t know. Words in English are a little tricky because we talk about loving pizza and loving our car. But there is an experience of the universe as love. There’s an experience of each human being as being pure love, when we’re born.
As I listen to you talk I really get that you’re just really helping people find their way back into that really deep deep deep place inside their heart where we feel most alive and we feel most present to the experience of life.
Oona: Yeah, and part of living on this planet is a constant conversation with your own self about living with an open heart.
Oona: It is easy to close it.
Oona: That is really the journey of sexuality in relationships, for me. This being present and being relentless into keeping our heart open.
Chip: Well, I noticed that’s the difference between me being twenty and me being in my fifties. In my twenties I really think the journey of sexuality was pretty much about getting off.
Chip: And, actually, it was a pretty hallow experience. I mean, it had moments of peak, but in general it was a pretty hallow experience. And it took me well into my adult years before I really got that, perhaps, the goal of sexuality was connection and that if that was the goal of sexuality then the deeper the connection the better the sexuality sent me in different directions versus trying different ways to get off.
Oona: I think also there are a couple of other pieces to that which is I think we get constricted as we get older. We all have a sense of identity that is deeply tied up to who we are, the sexual human being. Then you get older and that is not reliable any more.
Oona: So what really is required… and for me it’s very similar to the experience of having cancer or those kinds of life transforming experiences. Can you have the courage to be in the presence of the person you love and the juice is going? What do you do there? Can you surrender to that moment to really see what could be there?
Now, Oona how would somebody get this book and how would somebody get in touch with you if they have listened and they want to know more?
Oona: Well, you can go on the website blissinbed.com.
Chip: That is all one word B L I S S I N B E D dot com.
Oona: And also, you can go to oonamourier.com.
Chip: Again, O O N A
Oona: M O U R I E R dot com.
Oona: Also, you can find the book at any kind of a book store, at Barnes and Noble, and online. It’s all over the web.
Chip: And listeners, as you know, if you go to the episode pages we will also include a link to both oonamourier.com and to blissinbed.com, so you can get to it directly from our site.
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We are coming to the end of the show and I always like to leave my guests with an exercise, something that they can do themselves to deepen the love, intimacy, and sexuality in their life.
Do you have a suggestion, perhaps from your nine secrets, that somebody could try at home?
Oona: Yeah. One of my very very very favorite exercises is to follow the connection. So when you are with your partner in the middle of a candle moment and sexual encounter just follow the connection and just watch when you are connecting and when you disconnect. And when you disconnect, really look at what is happening in that moment and go back into connection. It is a very simple and yet very powerful exercise.
Chip: Now, do you actually speak it? I mean, there I am. I am making love with my partner. Then I say, out loud, “Wow! I just noticed I disconnected.” Do we actually say this out loud?
Oona: You could do that or you could notice yourself, just follow the connection. Where do you stay connected with the other and where do you go in your own world? So you can run away with it. It can be fun, as a part of discovering each other and your places, to talk about it all along.
Chip: Then if I notice I am becoming disconnected should I try to connect again or is it just about noticing what is so?
Oona: Well, there are a couple of strategies that you can have at that point. You can take a breath and go back into connection or you can really look at why you disconnect at this particular moment: what is really going on? And those are two different ways to deal with it that would lead to probably a different outcome, different place, where you would go together.
Chip: Yeah, I could see that both would be really powerful. I could see that it is really powerful to just notice that when we take a breath and get present in this moment we can come right back into the connection and right back into the present moment. I think it is equally powerful to have that moment of noticing that I am disconnected. And then, per the other things we were talking about, really sort of following causality: So what is really going on inside of me here? Where did my fear come up? Or what had me push away? Both could be really powerful learning tools.
Oona: Right. And I think, in many ways we all have to face the gap between this attempt in a love that we know possible and the reality of being in the body with another human being.
Chip: Yeah, an intense gap, sometimes. Yeah.
Oona, it has been terrific talking to you. We’re coming to the end of the show here. I want to thank you for being my guest and thank you for all the fascinating information here.
Oona: Thank you so very much. It was really lovely to talk to you and to your listeners.
Chip: Yeah. And I to talk to you.
Listeners, thank you again. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed the show. Please tune in again for our next show.